tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC October 22, 2012 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
shop now. get the hottest toys on your list today, like leapfrog leappad2 and hot wheels wall tracks... then put it on layaway so you have more time to pay. walmart. war talk. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews at lynn university in boca raton, florida, sight of the third and final presidential debate. let me start tonight with this. romney, wash. when i hear mitt romney speak about foreign policy, it's always toughness. when i hear bewe got to get tough, i hear war. surrounded as he is by the same people who were w's advisers, i feel his presence even stronger. war. does america want a war? in recent years we have had wars going on in iraq and
afghanistan. do we now want another one with a far more powerful, more modern islamic country? the implication for romney's tough talk in iran is we can commit an act of out and out war against that country without using the ward wor. we attack their nuclear sites, they say urngcle, and that's the end of it. that's where people like general kour tis le may said 50 years ago during the cuban missile crisis. just knock out the soviet missiles in cuba. they won't do nothing. nikita khrushchev had plans to hit new york and said to. quote, i knew the united states could knock out some of our missiles even if only one or two big ones were left, we could still hit new york. an awful lot of people would have been wiped out. consequences. understand the consequences. that's what foreign policy is about. war isn't a policy. we have no idea what the mullahs plan to do if we attack. they could unleash hezbollah and it's tens of thousands of rockets on israel, unlash hamas in gaza forcing israel to invade
killing any number of civilians. where would we be then? mr. romney's performance in foreign affairs to shhis shoot first and request questions later suggests a bull who brings his china shop with him. i'm joined by "the huffington post" howard fineman, john heilemann, and delaware attorney general beau biden. our special guest must be given the first question. you will not like this question, sir, mr. attorney general. >> it's "hardball." >> general, can i call you general? >> beau is good. >> thank you. >> does romney win if it's a tie tonight? does he win if it's a tie? >> the president is going to be the strong decisive commander in chief he always has been and talk about how he has been such a -- look, he's been the most strong commander in chief in mylitime. he said what he said he was going to do. he ended the war in iraq. you have mitt romney talking
about whether or not we should even take troops out. in afghanistan, the president of the united states has set us on a time line to take us out of afghanistan. on that front, i'm unclear as to what governor says to that. as to bin laden, the president of the united states hunt the down president obama. >> where did you learn all this? >> wait. >> your father taught you this. >> they said they wouldn't move heaven and earth to get bin laden. >> that's the strong advocacy case. now i want an objective opinion. does the president have to win tonight? >> well, yeah, this is his area of strength. >> if romney ties him, is it a win? >> if mitt romney, whose doctrine we don't know -- >> he could be anything. >> is there a romney doctrine? what is it? if romney is able to answer that question and say stride to stride with the president in an area he is clearly strong, he did get osama bin laden, he is using the drones to go after al qaeda, he's getting troops out of iraq, he has a plan on
afghanistan. if mitt romney can match that with depth and specificity and answer the questions about neocons, et cetera, then, yes, mitt romney will win. >> same question, does the president have to win tonight to get through this? >> president obama is an eminently credible and successful commander in chief. if mitt romney ties barack obama, it means he's looked like an eminently and successful commander in chief. if he ties him on that score he wins. >> if you listen to romney talk about foreign policy you can be forgiven for thinking you are listening to george w. bush. does that language sound like w? >> we can't support our friends and defeat our enemies in the middle east when our words are not backed up by deeds. america must have confidence in our cause, clarity in our purpose, and resolve in our might. no friend of america will question our commitment to support them. no enemy that attacks america
will question our resolve to defeat them. and no one anywhere, friend or foe, will doubt america's capability to back up our words. i'll put the leaders of iran on notice that the united states and our friends and allies will prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons capability. >> you know, the way he says that, beau, he says it with such absolute certitude, that he will not let them do it. the only way you can ultimately do that is if you fail with the diplomatic effort, fail with the economic sanctions, he speaks with absolute power he will just do it. he doesn't talk about the cost or consequences. >> i'm so tired of hear peopling pound their chests. we went through this before. >> with w. >> with w. when you have a person like governor romney with no foreign policy experience, you have to look to the people who are virzing him. we've been through this. governor bush had no foreign policy experience and look who he chose to align -- >> do you think john bolten
would be a good secretary of state. >> the majority of people advising him are kneow conservatives like john bolton. >> i know he throws in a robert zellic here and there. he has bolten, seno r who seemed to have his ear. >> i think that's one of the reasons mitt romney acted to strongly and preemptorly and ill-advisedly on benghazi originally. he jumped in repeatedly because dan senor is telling him -- >> it's right out of the playbook. >> key question that the president has to ask if bob schieffer doesn't ask is what precisely, specifically would mitt romney do differently? get specific mitt, and that's the challenge for romney tonight. >> what about this big story that's out there, john, about the president having committed to at some level of government to meet with ahmadinejad and try to work this out one-on-one after the election? the president has denied that but administration sources are
quoted in t"the times" piece. >> what dan senor said this morning on morning joe was governor romney is always going to favor the diplomatic approach to iran. if you go back to march when governor romney was on an xm radio show, he was asked do you support a first strike against iran? he said yes. >> when did it flip? >> apparently -- >> after he got the nomination. >> i parentally now he said i support a first strike, we must have a military intervention to keep them from getting that technology and this morning dan senor says, no, no -- >> this is the romney conundrum. >> it's because mitt romney was desperate to nail down every conservative and the ultra conservative vote he could get in the primary season. that's why he was making those tough severely conservative -- some of the neocons want to hear it. >> here is the question though.
beau, i don't know if you can handle this at all because you have a partisan view obviously with your dad running as dv. i ha i have heard from top guys that the neocons, the real ideologue that is are backing romney don't know whether he's a fellow ideologue or a complete pragmatic guy who could go any direction on iran or any these issues including the west bank. >> it's convenient they leak that notion now. >> yes. >> this is a while ago but you do. you think it's convenient -- >> i think it's convenient for them so sow confusion. this is a case where their strongest case for mitt romney is that we don't know what he really believes. >> yes. >> beau, get in here. you run against a right winger on foreign policy or a pragmatist who is a flip-flopper. >> he hired the same people who got us into the mess we got into ten years ago. john bolten, dan senor who had one of the toughest diplomatic
missions. so these are the people he's retained that we have to -- this is really important. we have 6,539 people we lost in these two wars. afghanistan we had the longest war. >> you were in afghanistan. >> i was in iraq. we have over 50,000 people injured. on top of foreign policy, if i could say, howard, veterans peace. i'm not confident that governor romney understands what the commitment means to veterans. he proposed the voucherization of the va. to voucherize the va. not dissimilar to what congressman ryan wants to do to medicare. this is a sacred trust we have with our veterans. i'm not sure he understands what it is. he talks tough about increasing the budget for the military $2 trillion beyond what the joint chiefs ask asked for. do you know that the president has put us on a path to spend 5 $55.8 trillion on our military. those more than the five closest allies. >> a new ad contrasts the
president's handling of iraq and afghanistan with what romney has said he will do. let's take a look. >> a decade of war that cost us dearly, and now for president a clear choice. president obama ended the iraq war. mitt romney would have left 30,000 troops there and called bringing them home tragic. obama's brought 30,000 soldiers back from afghanistan and has a responsible plan to end the war. romney calls it obama's biggest mistake. it's time to stop fighting over there and start rebuilding here. >> so of all you thought about of the wars we were fighting and you're trying to pick your candidate, is there a difference in terms of getting out of afghanistan? i thought they were both committed to 2014. aren't they? >> but there is a difference in terms of the emphasis that they're highlighting in this ad. there were several times where mitt romney has said more troops, keep the troops, stay the course. >> no date certain. >> no date certain. so the differences that exist
are the ones they highlight in that ad and it's a smart thing for the obama campaign to do because those are popular positions as well as skillful ones. >> the country is sick to death of war. we are war -- a war weary country. that ad goes directly to the war weariness of the country. it says there's a clear choice. what mitt romney is going to try to do tonight and it makes sense for him strategically is try to muddy up the clarity of the house. dan senor this morning was like basically saying mitt romney and barack obama are shoulder to shoulder. we're in exactly the same place. we're essentially the same. they're not a dime's worth of difference between these candidates because they know there's no payoff electorally to bell kosity. >> a wolf in sheep's clothing, right? >> and it's also of a piece with romney's entire strategy for these debates. two parts of the strategy, attack ferociously stylistically but behave like a moderate. >> that's amazing politics to sell yourself out to every right wing evangelical neocon group,
every supply side guy, give more quis what he wants and let the center think you're a moderate governor of massachusetts. >> people coming to the debates, a lot of them are seeing him for first time. they weren't in iowa, weren't in south carolina, they weren't in florida. mitt romney's counting on that. >> let's be clear he sold himself the same way to israel itself, not just the neocons in america but he's been telling bibi netanyahu he'll be much tougher than the president on iran. this is something he's projected not just in america but to one of our key allies in the region. >> doing that knowing full well it will get back to the people here. >> if governor romney was serious about foreign policy he would have chosen someone in as his running mate who has foreign policy experience. i'm not sure these guys get it. this will be the longest war this nation has fought, and governor romney continues to
talk in ways that are pounding his chest about opening up for additional forces in afghanistan. that's what my father nailed paul ryan down at the debate. paul ryan suggested putting additional troops in the most dangerous part in the most dangerous country in the world. ask these people, republican or democrat, whether they think it's a good idea. >> women should talk about women's issues and guy that is fought in wars ought to talk about wars. coming up, mitt romney has swung and missed twice trying to hit the president on libya. tonight he'll get a third shot. the president better be prepared to answer some tough questions. also, feminist icon gloria steinam will be here to talk about women's issues. plus, heading into the final stretch of the race, what are the messages that will move voters in key swing states? the lacest nbc/"wall street
journal" poll has the rate totally tied up. which means everything matters. tonight may be the last best chance for either candidate to make a strong push. let me finish with some words about a lost hero, george mcgovern. this is "hardball," the place for politics, live from boca raton for the final president deba debate. mcgovern. i'm so g
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welcome back to "hardball." live from boca ro taen for the final presidential debate. the dominant issue tonight is sure to be libya and the administration's response to the death of four americans in benghazi on september 11th of this year. can president obama effectively respond to his republican's criticism, and is this one topic of foreign policy tonight where mitt romney feels he might be able to gain some points with his attacks? david ignatius columnist for "the washington post," david
corn an nbc analymsnbc analyst the author of "47 percent." has susan rice, the ambassador to the united nations, when she went on "meet the press" five days after the assault on the consulate, was she speaking on the level with the best intel she had? >> amazingly enough, because she has been attacked so stridently for her comments, she was stating almost word for word the talking points the cia had prepared the previous day, september 15. i know that because i was given by a senior intelligence official a copy of those talking points, and they included the phrase that she got hammered for about the spontaneous inspiration for the benghazi events being what had happened to cairo. that view was revised a little bit since then, but what's amazing, a month after these events is that our intelligence
analysts still aren't sure exactly what led to that attack on the compound in benghazi, and if mitt romney tries to claim otherwise, he's going against our most senior intelligence people. >> well, governor romney seems to be making the point that it had nothing to do with the video, the anti-islamic video that came out of los angeles. did it have something to do with that according to best intel zm. >> chris, let me tell you what i heard from the intelligence officials and then you and your viewers can decide. their intelligence is that some of the people who attacked the compound on the night of september 11, had been watching the events in cairo live. they had been watching al jazeera or whatever network it was showing the protests at the american embassy in cairo about the video. they also know that in addition to watching this, they talked among themselves about what was happening in cairo, and then they went to the consulate compound. they don't have intelligence that has them planning
specifically what they would do or why they would go. that, unfortunately, is still a missing piece of the puzzle, but that's what leads them to say there was some link between what happened in cairo and these people gathering at the compound and then assaulting it. >> well, was the difference then between the initial intel and the later intel that the initial intel said it was spontaneous or suggested that the protest and the assault on our diplomats and the killing actually of chris stevens was spontaneous and their later assessment that it was opportunistic, they wanted to do, it they saw their chance with what was going on in cairo, the anger of the people over there about the video? >> i think the honest answer is they still aren't exactly sure how this came together. the official used with me the phrase a flash mob with weapons, but it's clear that the group included serious hard core terrorists that were probably member of the al qaeda in
magrab, a group of very extremist people in benghazi. there were people who were unarmed who were kind of along as looters who wandered in and just took stuff. it was kind of a rag tag group, why they think it wasn't as coordinated as some reports suggested. i think one point for me, chris, as somebody who follows intelligence is these guys are assembly shards, different fragments, and they don't all fit, and they sometimes contradict each other and when things like this get politicized, as this did so extraordinarily in the debates, you look for a kind of certainty that the analysts don't have. >> thanks so much for joining us david ignatius. president obama addressed libya in his interview with jon stewart last week. let's watch. >> difficulty, the perception seems to be state was on a different page than you or that
you had susan rice five days afterwards saying well, this video could have been a part of that, and then other -- >> the truth is that information comes in, folks put it out throughout the process. people say it's still incomplete. what i was always clear about was we're going to do an investigation and figure out exactly what happened. >> you know, people are always telling me to calm down but i wonder if at some point you have to be more eruptive than the president right there. he seems so almost blase in answering these questions. why doesn't he take the initiative and every day tell us what he's learned new and be aggressive? we want to any and he's the guy who tells us. >> there's a couple different issues. first of all, what are we going to do about it? that's the presidential question. to guarantee that the people who did this will feel some pain and there will be retribution at the end of an investigation. the other point is what went wrong in terms of the state department and not providing the right amount of security. that's an issue for the state department and congress to sort
of work out. the third issue is, you know, which you asked at the beginning, was there any deception in terms of the white house trying to cover things up? >> because romney has been charging that. >> that's what romney charged, lindsay graham,rell issa. remember what happened at the end of the bin laden raid. every day they tweaked the story because new information was coming in and there's a rush now these days to put out what you know as soon as you know it -- >> let's preview tonight. will the president try to be dispense with this question first go around? on his account, i would be worried if it went on all night. if you had an hour and a half with half of it taken up with libya, i think he loses tonight. >> i don't think he can go on that long. what does mitt romney have to say? >> keep asking questions. >> keep asking questions, but i thought last week the president was very effective in saying, i take responsibility, we're going after these guys, and these are my people. i send them out there. he was very strong and fierce.
no reason to think he won't be that way tonight. >> this is the part last week in the debate with candy crowley which everybody will probably always talk about. romney thought he had him by saying the president did not call it an act of terror in the beginning and here he is facing up to candy crowley sort of fact checking here. let's watch that from the debate last week. >> i think it's interesting the president just said something which is that on the day after the attack he went in the rose garden and said that this was an act of terror. >> that's what i said. >> you said in the rose garden the day after the attack it was an act of terror? it was not a spontaneous demonstration. >> please proceed. >> is that what you're saying? >> please proceed. >> i want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in benghazi an act of terror. >> get the transcript. >> he did in fact, sir. so let me call it an -- >> can you say that a little louder, candy? >> he did call it an act of
terror. >> knowing romney's personality to the extent we all do, i expect he will revisit that. he will rip that scab and say somehow he was right. >> i think he's going to get to a temperamental question. he said, listen, when this first happened you rushed out and you said you thought you knew what was happening. if you're president of the united states, if you're commander in chief, you don't make rash statements or rash actions. and, you know -- >> he'll hit him from the top. >> we do it right. you want to make this politics? i think there are so many openings for the president on this. i wouldn't go into this if you're an obama supporter worried that he's going to be taken -- >> i think we're talking libya tonight. it may not be the most important issue of our time but it will be tonight. thank you very much, david corn, and david ignatius, great reporting. up next, more from florida and our coverage of the final presidential debate. this is "hardball," the place for politics. i'm a conservative investor.
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we're here at lynn university at boca raton. >> boca raton. >> it's like roosevelt and roosevelt. who are you for? let me show your cheek. i guess you're for that guy. >> i am for obama. >> why? >> well, i voted for him four years ago and i'm originally from new york, so, of course, we come from a democratic state and -- >> do you vote for your state? >> no. >> let's keep -- you sound like a collectivist. >> imemily miller and for mitt romney. >> why do you two disagree? what's your issue? >> because we need to start supporting small businesses and getting our economy -- >> you got the line down. you got the line down. >> christina lewis for obama. >> thank you. >> than jan than and i'm for
president obama. >> chelsea and i'm for mitt romney. >> sororities seem to be for romney. >> i'm for obama, whoo! >> i'm for obama. >> how did you get that irish name, flanagan? >> i'm melissa williams, i'm a teacher, and i'm for obama. >> we have to get smart here. give me your reasons. >> and daniel ferguson, i'm for obama/biden. >> why? >> i realize that romney, some of his plans are really not fair, so obama all the way. >> okay, thank you. >> he will never forget the middle class. i'm a street nan veteran he hasn't forgotten me. >> sir? >> i think obama has more integrity than most politicians in the last i don't know -- mee generation. >> chris, i love this country and i don't want to turn it over to these guys who screwed it up once before. >> okay.
>> i'm linda i'm for obama because i want my kids to have health care. >> health care, education, peace. >> i'm susan and one of the virginians that voted for obama and will again. >> thank you, guys. stick around. we'll do this show and then another show. we'll be here all night tonight. we'll be right back with more "hardball." ♪
thanksgiving and christmas and yahoo! shares are higher following a better than expected profit report. now back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." live from lynn university in boca raton for the final presidential debate. the new nbc/"wall street journal" poll shows among female voters, women, if the election were held toot obama wins by eight points. at a time when the economy dominates politics president obama made clear in the second debate that women's issues are economic issues. joining me right now obama 2012 deputy campaign manager deaf sti cutter and political activist
and women's advocate gloria steinem. i never thought we would have somebody so grand on the show here but there you are, gloria, and i just heard through the grapevine what you feel. i don't feel i have to offer you any special cues. what are the women's stakes in this presidential election in two weeks? >> well, i think the problem is when we say women it only applies to women but, in fact, it's the whole country so the truth of the matter is that equal pay is the biggest economic stimulus this country could possibly have. if women were paid equally for comparable work, there would be $200 billion more in the economy as an economic stimulus. each white woman on the average would get $147 more a week, each woman of color more than $250, and these women are going to spend that money. they're not going to invest it in china. they are not going to send it to the bahamas, no. they're going to spend it and create jobs. so our mistake i think has been
to phrase it as if it's separate from the economy as a whole when, in fact, it is the single most important economic stimulus, and romney has refused to say that he supports even equal pay. i mean, this is outrageous. he's not a republican. he's an extremist. >> i agree on that. what stuns me is the commentary from the other side. referring to women like calling claire mccaskill, go fetch, dog talk about a person who is a senator and a woman. it seems like the romney people do have a strategy though. they believe they can get women votes or at least not lose too many by simply saying we're going to be awful on the issues, especially the issues normally considered women's issues up to health care and everything else but we'll get them on the economy. >> but this is the economy. i mean -- >> what they call the economy. >> but they're wrong. they're 100% wrong. the biggest indicator of whether a woman can work or not, be educated or not, be healthy or not is reproductive control. can she decide.
that is an economic issue. they think economic issues only apply to white guys. i'm sorry that's just not true. >> stephanie, pick it up from the campaign point of view. >> i agree with gloria that the romney campaign is very dismissive of these issues. they call them social issues. they're not social issues, they're economic issues, and the president made that point in the debate last week, that he was talking about women as breadwinners in their families and it was a women's issue, it was a family issue, and it was an economic issue. it was very much about the strength of this country and the strength of our economy, and mitt romney's response to that was he had a binder full of women. and then after that campaign -- i mean after that debate, the romney campaign, you know, spent days talking -- pushing aside women as that's not the real issue in this race and dismissing them as social issues. >> why is the republican party moving from the party we knew growing up to this right wing party? why are they doing things like personhood and 14th amendment rights -- who is this for? >> because beginning with the civil rights act of 19 -- old
jesse helms kind of democrats began to despair of the inclusiveness of the democratic party, leave, and take over the republican party. all the religious and economic extremists who used to be democrats have taken over the republican party. i apologize to my republican friends who are real republicans. nixon supported the equal rights amend, goldwater was pro-choice -- >> what would be the purpose to put in your platform 14th amendment rights, life, liberty, and property to a fertilized egg. i understand all the views about the philosophy of when life begins. i understand the debate. it's on. but the idea of giving rights of property, this is almost ridiculous. it does tend to justify criminalalization. >> of course. of course it's criminalizing if the fertilized egg is a person, then you have nationalized women's bodies throughout our child bearing years. but the point is we don't quite
understand the importance of controlling reproduction. they're controlling reproduction. >> there's a lot more consensus in this country about birth control, contraception. a young woman who works in her 20s or 30s and is not ready to have a child, that's her decision, i think we all agree on that, she wants birth control. isn't it in society's interest for her to get that as part of her health care? >> absolutely. >> is it in society's interesting to have her boss be the birth control na i did to decide who gets it and who doesn't? >> no, it's not. women take contraception for a lot of different reasons. it has to do with preventing cancer and other diseases. it's a preventative medication. that's why the affordable care act includes it as part of preventative measures for women and that's why insurance companies are now required to provide contraception for women with no out of pocket costs. it does not make sense to put employers in charge of that decision. women should be able to make that decision. if their insurance plan offers
contraception, which by law they have to, that's between women and their insurance companies and it should be in the women's court to make that decision, not employers. if i work at any fast food restaurant, they're making the decision about whether i have access to contraception, absolutely not. >> you hear the 1950s in romney's voice? i hear it all the time. >> i'm not even -- >> women -- >> i'm not even sure he's up with the 1950s. >> what is it because it seems out of date. >> well, there's the problem with romney -- or several things, his policies, that he doesn't tell the truth about his policies, and that his attitudes -- his internal attitudes are a problem. i mean, you know, i have been around a long time. i think i'm older than you, so this is the most destructive to equality candidate i have ever seen in my life, ever, for the presidency. much more than goldwater, nixon. >> -- in terms of demanding
their equal -- why would they vote for him? >> first of all, it's a backlash against e quaumity that now these folks who control what used to be the republican party, it's a backlash against all the social justice movements which have won the majority, and the question is do women have the information or not. i mean, republican women say to me, but he'd never really do that. you know, he'd never really criminalize -- >> that's a convenient summat n summation. nobody knows if he believes in anything, therefore, he might not do anything. i want stephanie on this because she's the partisan here. how do you handle -- i swear he can cut any deal with grover norquist, pat robertson, the robes from liberty university, neocons all around him, bolton, horrible, dangerous people, have them all around him and nobody believes he believes anything. that seems to be protecting him. he's a complete cynic. >> i think they should beware of what he believes. over the course of running for president -- >> is he a charlton or a right
winger. >> he's a right winger. you can't take these positions over the last six years, never once stand up to the far right elements of your party and then say, forget it, i didn't mean any of that. he is firmly against roe v. w e wade. that's clear. he said he would sign legislation. >> terrific. >> marvelous. wonderful. >> overthrow planned parenthood. >> and funding for planned parenthood. he wants to put bosses in charge of contraception. >> what about programs like planned parenthood, you don't have to be rabidly pro-choice -- >> it was part of him trying to win over the conservatives in this election. and you can't take positions -- >> you said something very claire and i just met you tonight, it's not the republican party. it's this new right wing thing. >> it's not. it is an extremist party that i hope if they're defeated big time this time true republicans, centrist republicans will come and take it back.
it's so dangerous to have one of our great parties -- >> can i say something that's vaguely sexist, if you're older than me you look fabulous at any age. fabulous. >> well you look fabulous, too. >> i don't want that. i don't want that. i'm just glad i got to meet you. gloria steinem and stephanie cutter. i'll hear about that. the state by state path to the presidency is up. this is "hardball," the place for politics live from boca raton with the final presidential debate. zeebox is tp that makes tv even better. if your tv were a space captain, zeebox would be an alien, first officer. together they'd become the best star team in the fleet, able to take on anything in the universe. i'll hear about that. whew. space. space. [ male announcer ] download zeebox free, and let your tv go where it's never gone before. [ male announcer ] start with nothing, build a ground-breaking car. good. now build a time machine. go here, the state by state path to the find someone who can build a futuristic dash board display.
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we're back from lynn university in boca raton for the final presidential debate. tonight we're taking a look at how the debate will play in the battleground states that will determine the election. yesterday we got our new nbc/"wall street journal" poll. it showed mitt romney pulling dead even with president obama. we got a tracking poll with the president up by one. with me is msnbc political analyst and author of "what's the matter with white people," joan walsh and "washington post" political reporter nia malika henderson. i want to talk about tonight and this impact tonight. people love to say foreign policy doesn't matter. i think it does in a dangerous world. i think this president has evened out the parties in terms of the old advantage of the republican party in foreign policy during the cold war i believe is gone. these two men personify the modern parties. i do believe that barack obama, the president, has an edge. is that true? in the voters' mind is he seen
as a serious commander in chief? >> the president is but you have seen something of a closing of the gap. the president had a double digit lead on foreign policy for months and months and months. it looks like romney has been able to successfully chip away at that. it's five, six points if you look at the recent polls -- >> why? is it his persona in the first debate where he seemed to be a bully and also seemed to be strong. >> i think he looked like a commander in chief in that -- >> because he bossed around jim lehrer. >> because obama looked lackluster. >> joan, this was sort of a display of personality that first debate which won't go away. your thoughts on its impact on the foreign policy image of these two guys. >> we talk a lot about the women's vote, chris, but i think that this debate is very important to swing women voters, and nia malika is absolutely right, the president lost that debate largely on demeanor and he let mitt romney seem reasonable. he cannot do that tonight.
i have watched all day long starting with waking up with dan senor on morning joe as he has tried to moderate mitt's crazy warmongering positions, and the president, if he comes out tonight and does what -- if romney comes out -- if romney comes out and does what he did in the first debate and just smiles and pretends that he never said any of those things that he said, those horrible things about the first strikes against iran and whatever, the president has got to call him on it. he cannot get away with being moderate mitt when he's actually a war monday ger and we don't know what he would do as president. >> until recently, romney was like, we're not going to let them have a nuclear weapon. it wasn't a talk of a guy that wants to negotiate or use sanctions. when i get in there, there won't be no weapons. and now he's saying, according to other people who have watched him this weekend, the evolution. >> there is a bit of an
evolution. >> you call it an evolution, something that happens in two weeks. >> on iran he has the exact same position, it seems to me, as president obama does. the blueprint here is to be like a joe biden, maybe a modified joe biden. >> in terms of how he handled mitt romney, well, what would you do differently, mr. romney? >> let's go to ee high ohio. joan, you love the economic issues, social issues, one of the issues that is big in that part of the state, ohio, it shows a narrow margin. tied at among 47 each. the issue that romney's using in the midwest and industrial states is china. they have been too dishonest, they have not had fair trade and
the president has been tough enough at the bargaining table. that might work for people who feel that their jobs have been jeopardized. >> the president can talk about the stuff he has taken to enforce trade agreements. he's been more aggressive than president bush was and i think he can also make a point that we don't want a trade war with china and people lose jobses a people go ballistic. but, again, people thought it was about choice or equal rights but largely about the war monday ger. we're seeing the same thing with mitt romney. whether it comes to ohio, florida, or wisconsin, and they
saw it as a threat to them. don't get involved in a land war in asia. the concerns about how wars get started. he's running for commander in chief. >> right. i think peg knee noonan probably was right in saying that mitt romney doesn't have a real depth of knowledge in terms of foreign policy. >> how about history? >> or history? >> he's running a campaign. >> how can you be 65 years old and not know american history? >> well, i think it's clear that he is -- you know, he's trying to adopt a lot of the neoconservative foreign policies. >> is that because there's an empty suit and plenty of room
for new ideas? joan, you laughed because that's exactly the kind of person that the real idealogs love. they have a tremendous hold on them. that's what goes on. all of a sudden they are hawks. >> and mitt spent all this time getting rich. to the extent that he's thought about the world it's been in that capacity. he doesn't show any curiosity about other cultures or humility about history. >> he went to the king david hotel and never left it the whole time he was there. >> unbelievable. >> thank you, nia-malika henderson. you're watching "hardball." in america today we're running out of a vital resource we need
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let me finish tonight with this. we live in a society where winning is everything. no matter how dishonest, how sleazy the victor has conducted himself, he's cheered on election night. the reverse is true for the loser. he or she can be principle, honest, even visionary, lose the election, you're a loser. george mcgovern flu two dozen combat missions in world war ii. he never even brought it up. mcgovern was not a great politician. a politician would have combined his opposition to the vietnam war for which this good man will always be known or the strong
statement of pride of what we americans, self included, accomplish fighting world war ii. again, he never did. as a politician, running to be commander in chief, he should have but didn't. i never saw exactly eye to eye with this good man from south dakota. he never showed the gut cold warriors that i viewed. most americans towards the soviet union and didn't show his deep contempt and again, i don't know why, but he didn't and that bothered me. but he was what he was, a cold war skeptic. the stupidity of the american war in vietnam, be a war that we can only win by millions. he lost the seat in the 1980 landslide. that's what i think. that's what i think we lost,